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Scene Four
Monday, December 21, 1998 (later the same day) / Niagara Falls, New York / Evening

"Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee."
~ Proverbs 2:11 ~

It was six twenty-three p.m. when the tourist bus pulled up to the Marriott Fallsview hotel. The sun had already retired for the night, leaving the solitary moon to glow in the black sky like a large, fluorescent nite light. Jose shook Rebecca's arm.

"Mrs. Newton, it's time to get out of the bus," Jose announced, taking a good look around. Rebecca and Jose followed the crowd into the hotel. "Mrs. Newton, I suggest you sign the register as a Mr. and Mrs., using, of course, a different name, and tell the clerk that your husband will be joining you later as an explanation of why he is not with you. There's no sense in making it easy for Cushing to find you," Jose said in half whispers. "After you sign in, go to the dining room and order dinner. I'll get a room under the name 'Anthony Ramirez' and meet you there. You better tell me the name you intend to use, just in case," added Jose.

"How about Mr. and Mrs. Collins?" suggested Rebecca. A look of recognition briefly flashed across Jose's face.

"Why do you suggest the name 'Collins,' Mrs. Newton? Is there any particular reason?" he asked.

"Why, Collins was my maiden name," Rebecca replied. "Why? Don't you think it will do?" she asked.

"No, I don't think so," Jose replied abruptly. Rebecca quickly decided on 'Brewster' and signed the register as Jose had instructed her. Rebecca waited in the dining room for an hour before Jose entered and sat down at the table. His face was grave and somber. Dinner was served, and Rebecca remained silent. Newlyweds dotted the dining room, each table defining the dimensions of separate little worlds; their spouses being the only other citizen. The contented faces reminded Rebecca all too well of Peter.

"If you'll excuse me, Mr. Fernandez. I don't feel well. I think I'll go to my room now and rest," Rebecca explained, leaving the room as soon as she could form the words. This suited Jose well. He was in a considerable amount of distress, himself. Collins! The name had echoed through his brain incessantly for the last three months. He remembered how Mr. Newton had said Peter died in a car accident.

"Car accident, ha!" muttered Jose angrily. Why hadn't it never occurred to him before, that the anonymous phone caller, 'Mr. Collins,' was in fact, Peter Newton, husband of Rebecca Newton. "How was I supposed to know?" he argued. "If I had only known that Mr. Collins was Mrs. Newton's husband, I would never have stirred the hornet's nest by asking questions that would create suspicion and trouble!" A new thought came to him. "If Cushing and his men arranged Peter Newton's death, then they must have had reason to suspect Rebecca," he thought. "Why didn't they stop her before she had the chance to act?" Jose took another mouthful of dinner. "Maybe, two deaths, especially husband and wife, dying from separate causes within such a short span of time, would have drawn too much attention," Jose reasoned. Jose's newfound understanding of events did little to soften his guilt over Peter's death. His mind told him there was nothing that he could have done differently, even if given a second chance; his heart, however, was another matter. Jose decided not to finish his dinner, but instead, go to his room.

Jose's room was on the same floor as Rebecca's, a fact he thanked God for, for it was easier to protect her than if they had been on separate floors. Before going to bed, Jose softly knocked on Rebecca's door.

"Mrs. Newton?" he whispered.

"Yes?" came Rebecca's reply. "What is it?"

"Be sure to keep your door locked, Mrs. Newton. Good night," whispered Jose.

"Good night, Mr. Fernandez," Rebecca responded. He could tell by the sound of her voice, that she had been crying. With a guilty sigh, Jose returned to his room.

end of chapter
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